Courses in Yiddish language, literature, and culture have been offered at The Ohio State University for some thirty years. In this time, Ohio State has grown to be the premier institution of Yiddish research, teaching, and scholarship in the hemisphere. Ours is the only North American University with two full-time Yiddishists. Professor David Neal Miller (Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz), Yiddish Program Director, teaches language, Yiddish and comparative literature, and critical theory. Professor Neil G. Jacobs (Ph.D. Columbia) teaches language, Yiddish historical linguistics and phonology, and Jewish geography. Ours is also the best-enrolled Yiddish program in North America.
Developments within the field, as well as the advent and ascendancy of cultural studies as a disciplinary model, have led the present generation of Yiddish scholars to look beyond the inherited language-and-literature paradigm to one in which Yiddish culture in its various manifestations (linguistic, textual, material, etc.) is viewed as a national culture-the culture of Ashkenaz.
The merger of the Yiddish and Ashkenazic Studies Program with the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures positions the Program in an appropriately European context, draws upon existing strengths (German-Jewish literary and cultural studies, Holocaust studies) within the Department, creates opportunities for creative synergy, and leads the discipline in a direction appropriate for the present historical moment.